What is the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and when was it created?

In 1990, United States Congress enacted an Immigration Act. The EB-5 Immigrant Investment Visa Program gives qualified foreign investors the opportunity to obtain permanent resident status in the United States, The EB-5 Program requires foreign individuals to invest $500,000 to $1 million in a U.S. based business and create ten new jobs, administered by the USCIS (United States immigration and Citizenship Service) to benefit local economy.

What is a regional center?

EB-5 Regional Center is an organization authorized by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to receive and manage EB-5 investor funds. Regional Centers promote economic development and job creation within a specific geographic area.

What is the difference between “conditional” and “permanent” green card?

Conditional green cards will be issued by USCIS after approval of the I-526 petition. Investors receive permanent green cards upon USCIS approval of the I-829 petition.

What is I-526 Petition?

The I-526 petition is the initial visa application as part of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Prospective investors and their attorneys file this petition with the USCIS and include documentation demonstrating the investor’s eligibility.

What is I-829 Petition?

The I-829 petition is the final step in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, will be filed by Investors and their attorneys, be able to provide evidence that the investors has successfully fulfilled all of the program’s requirements, Upon approval of the I-829 petition, investors and their family members will receive permanent green cards.

May I apply for an EB-5 visa if I have previously been denied a visa to the U.S.?

If you have been previously denied a visa to the U.S., you may still apply for an EB-5 visa.

What is the minimum amount investment required?

An investment of at least $1,000,000 is required for an EB-5 visa. If however, the investment is made in an area that has been designated a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), the investment is a minimum of $500,000.

What is Target Area Employment (TEA)?

Areas in rural or remote parts with 1.5 times unemployment rate compare to national average are considered as TEA.

Does Investor required to speak English?

No, you are not required to speak English to apply for the EB5 program.

Do I need to have business experience?

No, you do not need to have any business experience.

Do I need to have a college education?

No, you are not required to have an educational background.

What issues have been the most problematic in EB-5 Process?

The most common problem encountered for EB-5 Investment has been the issues of Source of funds documentations. USCIS requires careful examinations of documented source of funds to ensure that fund investing in the United States was lawfully obtained.

What is “Source of funds”?

Funds used for EB5 investment must have supported documents to ensure that fund investing in the United States was lawfully obtained. There are a variety of ways to prove lawful source of funds. The key is good documentation showing both the source and path of the money. Common EB-5 source of funds may come from earned income, investment proceeds, sales of property, property loan, ownership in a company, company loans, and gifts.

What other requirements are there in order to obtain an EB-5 visa?

To obtain an EB-5 visa, as with any other visa to the U.S., the applicant and any accompanying family members must meet all requirements (e.g., criminal, medical) stipulated by the immigration laws of the United States.

How many EB-5 are available each year?

The EB-5 Program offers a maximum of 10,000 EB-5 Visas each year.

What are the financial risks involved with the investing in a Regional Center?

All investments are risky by nature and the Regional Center projects are not exceptions. Under the law, the Regional Center cannot guarantee profit or the return of the principal investment. Investor is recommended to have a qualified expert and experienced EB5 immigration lawyer to assist Investor with investment decision and legal document in the application filing process.

How does the EB-5 visa differ from H-1 or an L-1 visa?

With an EB-5 visa, you obtain a green card for permanent residence in the United States. After 5 years, the investors and their family may obtain US citizenship, subject to meeting all immigration requirements. Other visas such as H-1 or L-1, may never result in permanent residence, have time limits, must be renewed, and require additional filings with the USCIS or Department of State.

Where can I find more information about the EB-5 visa program?

Further information regarding the application process, requirements, and benefits of the EB-5 visa program can be found on the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services www.uscis.gov

Are the other alternatives as good as EB5?

(Based on an article from EB-5 Daily posted on April 17, 2018)
Here’s a look at the most common EB-5 green card alternatives and why they aren’t as great in comparison to EB-5.

H-1B

The H-1B visa allows U.S. employers to sponsor foreigners who work in specialty occupations such as IT, computing and finance. Since the visa is tied to the employer sponsor, an H-1B visa holder is tied to their employment. It’s an extremely popular visa choice, especially for Indian nationals, and as a result of the increasing number of applicants, the H-1B has turned into a lottery of sorts. It can also now take applicants from India up to 10 years to obtain a green card. Additionally, the current U.S. administration is pushing employers to hire American and this may impact an applicant’s ability to find an employer willing to sponsor and pay the increasing fees under the H-1B visa program.

EB-1C

The EB-1C is a visa for a manager or executive transferee. The EB-1C benefits entrepreneurs who wish to expand their small business overseas. Using the EB-1C visa, an executive or a proficient manager can transfer overseas to expand or build the business in the U.S. In order to qualify for this visa an applicant must prove that they are extremely accomplished in their field. Like the H-1B visa, an applicant must be sponsored by an employer. Additionally, the employer must have conducted business non-stop for one year in the U.S. prior to filing an EB-1C application.

EB-1A

The EB-1A visa for Extraordinary Ability is difficult to qualify for. While there is no backlog for these visas, in fact, premium processing can sometimes have a visa decision available in two weeks, fulfilling the visa requirements are not easy. According to USCIS, an applicant may qualify if they have won a major internationally recognized award, or they have 3 of 10 specific criteria. A major one-time achievement, such as winning an Olympic medal, an Oscar, or a Pulitzer Prize, can replace the 3 criteria. While the visa requirements for the EB-1A are straightforward, providing proof of abilities can sometimes be tricky.

EB-2 NIW

The EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) allows foreigners to come to the U.S. if they can propose and advance a project that has substantial merit and national importance. They must show that it would be beneficial for the U.S. to waive the job offer and other requirements so that they can pursue this entrepreneurial endeavor. The foreign entrepreneur must provide proof that their project will have a strong impact on the economy. The EB-2 NIW has a substantial backlog for applicants from China and India.

EB-5

Compared to the other visa categories, that may be difficult to qualify for with tough or complex requirements, EB-5 may be a stronger fit for many applicants.

  • It allows applicants, their spouse and their unmarried children under the age of 21 to live, work, attend school, and travel anywhere in the U.S.
  • There are no educational or accomplishment requirements to apply for EB-5.
  • EB-5 investors are not tied to employment sponsors or certain fields of employment.
  • EB-5 investors can choose whether they would like to take an active managerial role in their projects or to take a less active policy maker role.
  • EB-5 applicants must only show that they have the funds to invest and these funds do not have to be income—they can be from loans, inheritances or gifts.
  • Parents can gift their children the funds required.
  • Applicants do not have to reapply for the EB-5 visa to maintain eligibility.
  • There is only a backlog for applicants from Mainland China.
  • While Vietnam and India may be approaching their visa threshold, they have not reached it yet.
  • After five years, EB-5 applicants may be eligible for U.S. citizenship.

For more information about the EB-5 visa, send us a message.